Friday, June 29, 2012

This I know for sure...

Making a commitment doesn't mean the same thing to everybody.  I'm not talking about making a commitment to lose weight, or handle finances better, or any other commitment you make to yourself to make your life or health better, but commitments made to others for their benefit.

To me, making a commitment to someone for something they need means I promise to be there for them, help them, or do what I said I would when I said I would.  It doesn't mean I'll do what I promised when I get to it, or feel like it especially when I know that person is depending on me. 

Of course sometimes something will happen where you can't be where you said you would when you said you would be or do what you promised when you promised you would.  If that does happen, I always get in touch with the person as soon as I know there's a problem/conflict and explain why I can't honor the commitment at that particular time.  I offer alternatives in terms of rescheduling, having someone take my place if possible, or reimbursing for expenses if necessary and I always, always apologize.

How depressing that so few people seem to feel the same way when they make a commitment to someone.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I'm reading Wednesday

Do you ever read more than one book at a time?  I do on occasion - I'm actually reading three books right now -- Whispers In The Dark by Maya Banks and Only His by Susan Mallery in paperback and Some Like It In Handcuffs by Christine Warner on my Kindle. 

I also like to switch between non-fiction and fiction so often read more than one book at time if I'm reading something for research and something for pleasure.

Do you ever get the characters mixed up from one story to the other? I never have but have a friend who insists she would if she read more than one book at a time.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

One more...

Today, I'm visiting fellow historical romance author, Alyson Reuben's, wonderful blog - "Author's Lunch: A Bite of Reuben Sandwich" and talking about some the things I've done in the name of research.  I hope you'll stop by and share some of the things you've done too.  Link:  http://www.abiteofreubensandwich.blogspot.com

Friday, June 22, 2012

What I know for sure...

As a promotional tool a blog tour takes a lot of time and effort without any way to know if you're reaching new readers.  I'm just finishing my first blog tour and had a great turnout on some of the stops, an okay turn out on some, but I also had a couple where I only had two people comment.   That doesn't mean people aren't stopping by and checking out the posts, they just may not choose to comment but without knowing the page views for that given day, it's hard to know if you're getting the reach you were hoping for.

While I guest blogged at a number of different blogs when my first book came out, it wasn't anything organized like a tour (a set number of stops within a set time frame).  While there was no way of knowing if I was reaching potential readers, I enjoyed this form of promotion more. I didn't feel the pressure to write a large number of blog posts within a short time frame and was able to enjoy the experience more. 

While my current blog tour has been fun,  I have to admit I'm looking forward to when it's over.  I'm not sure I would do another for future books.  I liked being able to spread out my visits to other blogs over a longer time frame.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Please Welcome My Guest

Please welcome my guest, Rebecca J. Clark.   Rebecca has written a wonderful blog about fate so without further ado, I'll turn things over to her.

 Do you believe in fate?

What, exactly, is fate?

Wikepedia defines fate as: “Destiny, a predetermined course of events.”

Google defines fate as: “The development of events outside a person's control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power.”

Wiki-answers defines fate as: “...the theory that everything happens just the way it is supposed to happen and all things and events are predetermined.”

That last definition is how I would define fate. Some might call it karma, others might call it the hand of God. Some might call it a bunch of New-Age hooey. But I believe in it. I don’t believe in coincidences—I think everything happens for a reason.

Meeting my husband was all about fate. We met at a wedding. Neither of us should have been there. He was supposed to be across the country playing baseball (he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates minor-league system), but he’d been unexpectedly released the week before. I hadn’t spoken to the bride in many months, but she called me out of the blue to ask me to be in her wedding. Dan and I didn’t meet until the reception (although I’d seen him earlier and thought he was cute, but I was sort of seeing someone else at the time and wasn’t looking to meet anyone). I was really tired and wanted to leave the reception. I started to sneak out, but the bride spotted me and dragged me back inside. She said one of her friends had the hots for me and wanted to meet me. Inward groan here. I love my friend, but she had some really weird friends. But, to be nice, I said I’d meet him, then I’d leave. Well, to make a long story short, I didn’t leave. We hit it off right away, and we’ll be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in September.

Did fate bring us together? I think she did.

The hero in my new book, DELIVER THE MOON, also believes in fate. Gabe and Louisa used to be married, until the tragic death of their son tore their relationship apart. When he’s accidentally invited to a family wedding several years later, and he runs into Louisa, he’s certain fate had a hand in it. Louisa thinks he’s full of crap—so he has to figure out a way to convince her they’re meant to be together. Since this is a romance and romances all have happy endings, you know that he did figure it out. :)

What about you--do you believe in fate? Has fate had a hand in something specific that’s happened in your life?

Blurb for DELIVER THE MOON:

Once upon a time, he promised her the moon. It's time to deliver.

Louisa D’Angelo used to believe in happily ever after—until the tragic death of her son and the demise of her marriage. Now, five years later, with her life back in order, she has a great career and a wonderful man in her life. So what if the passion and excitement isn't there? In her book, passion and excitement only lead to heartbreak. Then, her ex-husband shows up and upsets her tidy little world.

Gabe D’Angelo never believed in happily ever after—until he met Louisa who taught him how to love and be loved. But their happiness was short-lived. Guilt and grief forced Gabe to walk away. Now, though he's pulled his life together and should be happy, he realizes something’s missing. After seeing her from afar at a family wedding, he knows what it is. It’s Louisa.

The problem is convincing her she's still in love with him.

Buy links:



URLs:
Follow me on Twitter @RebeccaJClark

Monday, June 18, 2012

Giveaway

Because Mondays are my least favorite day of the week, I'm always looking for ways to make them more enjoyable.  So....Today, I'm participating in Claire Ashgrove's Pick Me Up Monday giveaway.  Stop by her blog and you could win a free pdf copy of my historical novella, The Muse.  Link:  http://claireashgrove.blogspot.com

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gone Visiting

Today I'm visiting fellow historical romance author, Lilly Gayle's blog and talking about goals, set them or not.  Stop by and let me know if you set goals and why.  Link: http://lillygayleromance.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Please Welcome My Guest,

Please welcome my guest, Alana Lorens.  Be sure to check out the contest info after the excerpt.
  
 Do We Need Alpha Males?

As a younger woman, I remember reading romances with bare-chested men on the front and subjugated women, those ones that always seemed to have three magic words as a title: Love’s Lovely Loving. Love’s Passionate Kisses. Love, Life and Living. Okay, I made those up; the real ones were better.  But the point of all the stories (and they were so often very much alike) is that a woman wants a strong alpha male to come into her life, boss her around, teach her “how” to be a woman, and then she’s magically fulfilled.  Kind of a Viagra-dosed Prince Charming.

At one point in my reading life, I consumed those books like those potato chips that you can’t eat just one. But I find as I’ve gotten older, those somewhat cardboard characters are not the stuff that feeds me when I want to read a love story. I want to see real people, even weak people, who learn to become strong as they develop through the pages. They can still be in dramatic situations, or with pirates, thieves, gypsies, spacemen, vampires, whatever. But I find a flawed hero so much more appealing. My writer friend Kathy Otten is working on a lovely romance about a man whose lack of self-worth is tied to a scar on his face—watching him work through that and find love is so fulfilling to me! 

In my July release SECOND CHANCES, Kurt Lowdon is an Iraq veteran who’s come home with cancer after being exposed to some toxic chemicals on the battlefield. He’s fighting the beast, and some days are better than others. Despite that, he feels strong enough to fall in love with the book’s heroine, Inessa Regan, who’s twelve years older, overweight, and just fired from her job.  She, too, has self-confidence issues, and together they work to restore each other to wholeness.

What do you think? Should the hero of a romance be strong and overpowering? Does that really beef up the woman so she can be a super-female too?  Or is is all right to have a gentler, less-dramatic couple?

Wow, Alana.  Great post.  And now that you are intrigued (I know I am), here is the blurb and an excerpt from Second Chances.

BLURB:
Inessa Regan, a 10-year associate at a Pittsburgh law firm, gets a pink slip when the economy tanks. Insecure, her pride wounded, she flounders helplessly until she meets Kurtis Lowdon, a man 15 years younger than she, an Iraq War veteran with cancer.  He helps her take the first steps back from the pit of despair after she loses everything that defines her.

First as her client, then as her landlord, then as her partner, Kurt shows her the power of  believing in oneself. Their journey is tainted with secrets from Kurt’s own past, as well as some of the horrors of war that have followed Kurt and his friends home from overseas. When his cancer returns, she must take control of her own life and fight to survive.   Can the lessons he’s taught her keep her strong enough to survive? How much will she risk to save him?

EXCERPT:

 He let her lock the door to test the key.
“I figure you’ll need an assistant before long, that’s why you’ve got an extra key,” he explained. “Not sure how long I’ll be gone.”
“I never knew anyone who had chemotherapy. Does it take days? Weeks?”
His deep breath hardly rattled his chest.
“The process will take place over a couple of weeks, maybe a month, I guess. Depending on how soon I feel human again after…I’ll be around.”
“All right. Anything I can do for you in the office while you’re gone?”
“Play secretary, you mean?” He laughed. His face was pale, but she couldn’t tell if it was just a side effect of the street lights. Several of the neighbors sat out on the stoops of their buildings, talking and laughing in the evening air, and Kurt greeted them with a wave. “I’m sure you’ll have plenty to do. I wouldn’t ask you.”
“Messages can’t be too hard. I’ll see what I can do.” She took out one of her old business cards and scribbled her cell number on the back. “If you need to get hold of me.”
“Thanks.” He reached for her hand, his skin cool against hers as he shook it gently and gave it an encouraging squeeze. “Enjoy the place. Don’t throw any wild parties or orgies or anything—at least until I get back.”
He saw her safely into her vehicle then climbed into his truck. As he drove down the alley next to the building, Inessa sent good wishes after him.
#
The crosstown traffic was light for a weekend, even on Highway 22, as she headed in the direction of the Pittsburgh airport toward the end of town, where her small getaway awaited her. Despite her fatigue, Inessa’s buoyant mood defined the city’s glittering lights as theme park or fairyland instead of the pit of blue-collar depression it often appeared to be to her clients.
Kurt inspired her to more than she’d have expected of herself. The longer she was away from his contagious eagerness, the more her confidence faded. Could she really make it on her own? How would she get clients? Would she survive?
Too late now. She was committed. The keys were in her pocket. To survive, she’d have to convince herself this could be done, then carry through. Kurt had certainly made her welcome and given her a good start. And he doesn’t know me any better than I know him. For whatever reason, he seemed to think she could do it.
She’d better not disappoint him.

LINK TO BOOK TRAILER:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEMtSxd6FQQ  

CONTEST:
DUAL BOOK/BLOG TOUR!!
CONVICTION OF THE HEART (release date June 8, 2012)
And SECOND CHANCES (release date July 2012)
The first and Second books of the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer Series!
Come by the following blogs or live booksignings and leave a comment to be entered in a drawing—at the end of the tour, Alana will give away one ebook copy of each book and one paperback copy of each book—Four lucky winners! Check out all the websites at http://alanalorens.com  

And now a little background info on Alana:

Alana Lorens (aka Barbara Mountjoy) has been a published writer for over 35 years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications includes the non-fiction book 101 Little Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce, published by Impact Publishers in 1999, stories in A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women, in December 2008, and A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Parents, in June 2009. Her Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series (as Lyndi Alexander) is available from Dragonfly Publishing; THE ELF QUEEN in 2010, THE ELF CHILD in 2011, and THE ELF MAGE in 2012.

Her newest release (as Alana Lorens) is SECRETS IN THE SAND, in the Crimson Rose line from The Wild Rose Press. CONVICTION OF THE HEART is her sixth published novel, which will be followed in July 2012 with SECOND CHANCES, a women’s fiction with romantic elements story. The Wild Rose Press is also publishing her contemporary romance novella THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE later this summer.

 When she’s not busy writing, practicing law or teaching, she takes care of a husband and a bunch of kids and blogs on a variety of subjects, including autism, science fiction and life at Awalkabout.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Blog Tour Continues

Today I'm visiting Cera DuBois' blog and answering some interesting questions.  Link: http://ceradubois.wordpress.com/blog  I hope you'll stop in and share your thoughts.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, 6/12) I'm participating in Claire Ashcroft's Tuesday Teaser and sharing an excerpt from my new novella, The Muse.  Link:  http://claireashgrove.blogspot.com

Friday, June 8, 2012

What I Know For Sure...

It's hard to put yourself out there when you're not sure of your reception.  I'm not just talking about writing or putting that 400 page manuscript you've sweated blood and tears over but taking a risk in anything. 

I'm not a risk taker by nature.  Actually, I'm kind of shy. I don't like crowds or groups of people that number more than 10 especially if I only know one or two of those people or worse, that I don't know anyone.  So while I have a friend who has bungee jumped and wants to go para-sailing and on a storm chasing vacation hunting down tornadoes, I'm no adventurer.  I'm too worried about getting hurt.

And maybe that's the reason I'm not a risk taker.  When taking a risk, it doesn't necessarily mean doing something I consider dangerous but putting yourself out there in another form such as asking someone out on a date (and no, I don't plan on asking anyone out), sending off that manuscript even though you're afraid of receiving a rejection letter.  I'm too worried about getting hurt either physically or emotionally. 

But I started taking that step outside my comfort zone yesterday.  I crossed my fingers and took a leap into the unknown.  I'm worried, a little scared of the reaction I'm going to get, but you know what...part of me is really happy I'm doing this.  Part of me is hopeful things will turn out so much better than I'm expecting.  And if it does turn out badly, I can be proud that I'm not hiding behind my fear of what others will think, say, or do any longer.  Go, me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Blog Tour Stop

I'm visiting Victoria Gray's blog today and talking about that dreaded word, Promotion.  Hope you'll stop by and share a few tips.  Link:  http://www.victoriagrayromance.blogspot.com

My newly released novella, The Muse, is the book spotlight today on Kelly Moran's blog as well.  Link:  http://kellymoranauthor.blogspot.com 

Monday, June 4, 2012

What To Be...Or Not To Be. That is the question.


When writers begin a new story there are so many decisions to be made.  Character names, their appearance, temperament, where they live, how much baggage they have, and what they do for a living.  It’s this last aspect of developing a character that I find to be the most fun but it can be the most difficult.

Fun because we get to learn all about different occupations.  The research sometimes can even be more fun than the writing of the story.  I once interviewed a coroner, who was more than willing to share aspects of different cases as well as answer my questions. While he was careful not to divulge confidential information, he was a wealth of knowledge and had a great way of imparting that knowledge that made my fingers itch to hit the keyboard.  It can also be difficult because we sometimes want to include everything we’ve learned or found interesting even though it doesn’t necessarily have to do with the story itself and we end up including so much information that our stories become more like lectures than pleasurable escapes.

When I started writing The Muse I knew instantly that the hero, Blaine Hobson, would be a poet.  The thing is it’s hard to research how to be a poet compared to researching how to be a police officer.  I’ve never been good at writing poetry but admire those who can do it.

In my quest to learn more about poets and poetry, I read about a lot of different poets, their lives and their works.  I started with poets I was familiar with – Lord Byron, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Walt Whitman, and Langston Hughes.  (Of course, there’s Shakespeare as well, but I stayed away from him.)  Then I moved onto poets that were recommended to me by friends or that I found in the library.  These included Edgar Lee Masters, Anne Bradstreet, W. B. Yeats, Elizabeth Alexander, Donald Hall, and Billy Collins.

Of all the poems I read, I found a favorite – Brown Penny by William Butler Yeats.  Even though there is nothing similar to it written by Blaine in The Muse, I found myself reading this particular poem over and over when I wanted to get into Blaine’s head.

Have you ever been inspired by something you read or learned? Something that you kept going back to even though you couldn’t explain why?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Celebrating Reboot

Due to technical difficulties, I wasn't able to start my blog tour on Wednesday so I'm starting fresh today by visiting Sarah Grimm's blog, Off The Keyboard.  I'm doing her Friday Quickie.  Stop by and check it out. 
Link:  http://www.authorsarahgrimm.blogspot.com